Basic Science
Test Preparation
* Important Reminder *
Don’t worry about “not knowing enough science” to do
The fact of the matter is, you do not need to be a science
whiz to do well, though knowing science is a plus, the main
information needed is in each passage.
To do well, you will need to use some science reasoning
and follow these test strategies.
Reading Skills For Science Reasoning
Kaplan’s Three-Step Method
• Step 1: Skim and Scan the Passage
• Step 2: Consider the Question
• Step 3: Refer to the Passage
1: Skim and Scan the Passage
Don’t get tied up in details. Sometimes it
might be very technical and you’ll just get
frustrated. Read the Introduction then scan
the rest of the passage to see what
information is being presented. Refer back
to the passage when answering the
questions. The main goal is to answer the
question. You might not need to know all
the information to do that.
2: Consider the Question
Read and understand exactly what the
question is asking. (This is almost as
important as the answer…helps you to
make an educated guess if you don’t know
the answer.) Go back into the passage and
get a sense of what the answer could be
before looking at the choices.
3: Refer Back to the Passage
When choosing the correct answer, make sure
you look back at what it is asking for so
your choice is expressing the correct units
asked for. Also, make sure you don’t
confuse “opposites”. The difference in a
correct and incorrect answer may often be a
“decrease” where an “increase” should be.
Reading Tables and Graphs
• Determine what is being represented.
• Determine what the axes (columns and
rows) represent.
• Determine what the units of Measure are.
• Look for trends in the Data.
1st Qtr
2nd Qtr
3rd Qtr
4th Qtr
Determine what is being Represented and Determine what the
Axes (x,y or Column, Row) Represents.
• Most graphs and tables have
titles…This one is “Air
Temperature at Various
Altitudes at Test Site #3”.
• The X and Y axes are also
usually labeled…X axes is “km
above Sea Level” and the
Y axes is “Air Temperature
Determine the units of Measure and
Look for Trends in the Data
Comparison of pollutants to populations of types of Trout
Temperature is in degrees Celcius, pollutants are in parts per million
and density is in # per 100 m³ of river.
Trends show high lead in area 4 and high mercury in area 3. The
trout can survive with lead in the water, but not mercury.
WhaT To do When you’re running
out of time !
• When you are running out of
time, go right to the questions
without reading the passage and
do as many as you can… then
use previous educated guess
strategies to narrow choices
– Watch out for absolutes
– Answer easy ones first
– Look for the answer that is
concise and to the point
– No guess means less so guess!
Part Two – Scientific Method
• In a passage, a general rule or law will be
given to determine a specific fact or answer.
example: the general law of gravity says that
objects fall to earth at 9.8 m/sec². A falling
object that takes 3 seconds to hit will be
traveling roughly 30 m/sec. When it hits.
9.8m/sec³ x 3 sec. = 29.4 m/sec or 30 m/sec.
Scientific Method
• In some passages there will be facts to
examine and a general conclusion to be
given known as a “Hypothesis” or educated
• Once the facts are tested a specific
conclusion based on the facts can be
Scientific Method Continued
(Experimental phase)
• After forming a hypothesis, one must prove it to
be true or prove it to be false. In doing so, the
experimental phase occurs.
• A single variable (tested variable) is tested from
sample to sample or group to group.
• All other factors or variables must remain the
same from sample to sample or group to group.
(Control variables)
• Data Analysis or interpreting what test
information shows supports your hypothesis or
disproves it. The Data Analysis interpretation is
the most important part.
Scientific Method Continued
Analysis of the Data
3 plots, each with different soils, are planted with pine
seedlings. Plot A gets treated soil and cultivated fungi.
Plot B gets untreated soil and naturally growing fungi.
Plot C gets treated soil without fungi. (All other factors
were kept the same.)
What factor is being varied or tested?
Which Plot would be considered the control group?
What do the results show?
# of seedlings alive after 6 months
Plot A – 107
Plot B – 34
Plot C - 0
Analysis of the Data
1. The fungi in the soil or the lack of…
2. Plot B…it is untreated and has naturally
growing fungi (natural state).
3. Results show that soil treated and
cultivated with fungi promotes better
seedling growth than natural and even
better than soil lacking fungi.
The End of Science
ACT Test Prep
And all of the Test
Prep Advisory
lessons….Best of
luck on your tests.